The ins and outs of ammunition can be intimidating for those new to shooting. For a comprehensive overview on ammo, including the parts of a cartridge and which rounds are best for self-defense vs. training, read Firearm Ammo 101.

Here, we’ll cover a YouTube viewer’s question about ammo. Does it get old or expire? Remembering that ammunition is made up of four parts — casing, primer, powder and bullet — the answer is yes and no. A cartridge’s casing and projectile (bullet) can last a very long time. However, the primer and gunpowder can deteriorate.

Subscribe to the USCCA YouTube Channel

The primer and powder contain chemicals that could break down over time, making ammunition less reliable. Even that, though, takes a considerably long time. Most ammo, if stored properly in a cool, dry place, can outlast you. But it is recommended ammunition be used within 10 years of its manufacture date.

You should always inspect ammunition before using it to ensure it doesn’t appear damaged. If you’re unsure about your stockpile, you can call local law enforcement and let them know you’d like to dispose of old ammunition. They can help you determine the proper way to go about it in your area.


So as the ammo shortage winds down and we’re all stockpiling ammo like crazy, we got a question that came over the transom: “Can my ammunition get too old and what should I do with my old ammo?”. Well, in this video I’ll tell you exactly what to do with your old ammo.

So let’s talk about old ammo. Does ammo get old? Yeah, ammo gets old. And if you have ammo that is too old or you think is too old, I want you to box it up and ship it to me. I will make sure that it gets disposed of properly.

See, the real deal is that properly stored ammo in a cool, dry place — typically in an ammunition can or something like that — will outlast you and your lifetime. I currently have shotgun ammo that’s marked $3.95 for a box of 25 No. 6 high-brass game loads. 3.95 True Value Hardware store — the old paper price tag not even a UPC code on it. I still use some of that occasionally. But yes, buy bunches of ammo and store it properly. It will last just about forever.

And again, if you’ve got old ammunition and you want to get rid of it, just ship it to me. Now, you may have some concerns about how to actually dispose of old ammunition. If you want to do that, contact your local law enforcement agency. Tell them you have old ammo and you want to get rid of it. They will help you to get rid of that ammo. But don’t be giving away your ammo because you think it’s old. Take it out to the range and try to shoot it. It’s not going to blow up your gun. You’re not going to have any problems as long as you have a properly maintained firearm and your ammo was stored properly for all those years.